Guest Post: Forming a Band: What to Know

If you’re looking to start a band there are a few things that you'll want to do on your own before trying to enlist the help of other musicians. This applies whether you’re interested in simply jamming or you want to go on the road with your band.

Perhaps the most vital aspect of starting a band is understanding what kind of band you want. Do you want to play county music, alternative, rock, metal or pop music? Perhaps you want a unique combination of screamo and barbershop. The point is, until you know what sort of sound you want, there’s no reason to find musicians to fill positions in your band.

Once you’ve decided the kind of music you want to play and the type of band you want to form or at least a working idea, it’s time to find musicians. If you’re lucky, you may be able to draw from a pool of musician friends that you have. If you don’t have that luxury, however, you need to insist that the musicians you choose are competent musicians that play the style of music that you’re looking to create.

A person who plays postmodern hardcore guitar may be the best postmodern hardcore guitarist to every grace six strings, but he may not be the best guitarist for your jazz quartet.

It’s also important not to overlook the personal compatibility between you and your musicians. The greatest musicians in the world are going to be more of a headache for you than an asset if you don’t get along with them.

You also want to consider what sort of instrumentation you want for your band. For example, take the piano vs keyboard issue. You may find a tremendous piano player who knows his way around the piano but is less skilled with keyboards. If your music relies heavily on keyboards, you’re choices are to compromise or find someone with better keyboard skills. Another example is if your music is guitar driven. If this is the case, a true lead guitarist that can dish out heavy licks is essential. A rhythm guitarist will not be a worthy substitute.

There is also the developing musician approach. Perhaps you have a friend or acquaintance who wants to be in your band who is just learning their instrument. Maybe they have a specific look that you want for your band. Regardless, it’s still possible to work with them while they grow into a better musician.

Lastly, you want to be able to communicate with your band mates. Whether you’re calling the shots or you want a more collaborative effort, you need to be able to communicate. If you want to write a haunting ballad or a new rock anthem to join the ranks of Queen’s, “We Are the Champions,” you have to be able to direct the band as to how to play the song you’re envisioning.